Pioneer Packaging Worldwide has been engineering packaging solutions for clients in the industrial, retail, and moving and storage industries for more than 35 years. We are committed to providing outstanding customer service. we offer the latest equipment and technologies to streamline your packaging process, providing automated solutions that help you meet your timeline and budget.
At Pioneer Packaging Worldwide, we specialize in providing innovative packaging solutions for products across a wide range of industries, including the medical, wine, moving and storage, and manufacturing sectors. One of our healthiest sectors is the food and beverage industry. As part of our commitment to our clients, we are constantly on the look-out for the latest news and trends in the packaging industry. Here is a brief round-up of the latest news in that sector.
An important industry gathering. Just two months ago, some of the key players in food packaging gathered at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago for a seminar put on by the Global Midwest Alliance, a Chicago-based non-profit education organization. That meeting, “Fresher, faster, tastier: How packaging innovations are changing the food industry,” centered around highlighting how food packaging has evolved over the years, going from its initial purpose—to contain a product to keep it safe and fresh, along with allowing for distribution and merchandising—to its ramped-up mission of today. Gail Longmore, chief executive officer and managing director of the Global Midwest Alliance, said, “Food packaging has become a vital source of reinvigoration for a stable yet evolving sector. The food industry is undergoing rapid changes as new products and categories are developed for consumers demanding fresher and tastier options. Packaging provides a valuable link between those producing and those consuming food products,” she continued. “Businesses can leverage packaging innovations to create value, develop new markets and foster employment. Moreover, important issues related to food safety, distribution and trade revolve around innovative packaging techniques and equipment,” she concluded.
At the seminar, the senior business economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago discussed how much money is allocated for food packaging. David Oppedahl said that approximately 2.5 cents of every food dollar are used for food packaging. That amount goes to cover not only the physical package a consumer purchases, but also printing costs, shipping containers, and other expenses. Those can include sealants; advanced technologies, such as ultrasonic sealing, are used to minimize seal sizes, which helps to reduce materials and increase profits. According to a spokesperson for an Ohio-based company who spoke at this seminar, “It’s case pack economics. Take chips, for example. The number of bags that fit into a case impacts how many cases are used,” he said, continuing, “This, in turn, impacts corrugated costs and delivery expenses. If you change to a bag with lower air content and a thinner, stronger seal, you can increase the number of bags in the case.” He then spoke about the advantages to retailers of using ultrasonic sealing, saying, “If the bag is narrower, the brand’s facings stay the same at the shelf, but there’s now extra space in an aisle for additional merchandising.” He went on to discuss how packaging can be designed to influence the perception of a product’s quality among consumers, using PepsiCo Inc.’s Lay’s potato chips as an example. After the chip maker changed the inside layer of the bag from a metallic aluminum to white, “You do not see oil on the white layer. When this switch was made, there were less product quality complaints and returns,” he said.
There are two types of innovation when it comes to products and packaging: hard and soft. Soft innovation is demonstrated in the form of new flavors, sizes, and seasonal offerings, according to Sam Ciulla, CEO and executive creative director of Ciulla Associates, a Chicago-based brand design firm. He said, “Way too many companies do this, with questionable success.” He then went on to discuss hard innovation. He said there needs to be more of it, in the form of proprietary structural changes to a typical package or delivery system. Hard innovation is when both structural and graphic design are part of the development of new products; at the end of that process, there should be no questioning of, “What came first: the product or the package.” Both should be developed simultaneously, providing a solution to a real need. He cited an example: General Mills’ Pillsbury’s frostings in filled pastry bags. “Through research, we learned that consumers like cakes and cupcakes, and they like decorating them at home,” he said, adding, “But they do not want to buy and fill pastry bags. We helped develop a filled pastry bag that allows anyone to pipe frosting like a professional.” The product’s built-in star tip give consumers a choice of four distinct designs: stars, rosettes, swirls, and waves. This makes it a packaged product that identifies, and solves, a consumer need.
Ciulla also gave another example: Maine-based Backyard Farms L.L.C., a company that markets tomatoes picked ripe and delivered to grocers within one day. The company uses the tagline, “not grown too far from here.” This slogan had to support the attributes of Backyard Farms’ brand, which are fresh, friendly, local, sustainable, ripe and delicious. “Our challenge was to develop a package structure that not only helped ship and display the tomatoes but kept them bundled in their unique set of eight tomatoes on a vine,” Ciulla said, adding, “A craft paper box with a picket fence and the clear window does just that.” The final package design considers the environment, along with addressing both form and function. Boxes are made using 100% recycled paperboard, with a minimum of 35% post-consumer content. They are made using 100% wind power and are printed with soy inks from a nearby Maine community. In keeping with its promise to the environment, Backyard Farms also uses master cases from another nearby town to cut down on delivery miles. The company makes sure to capitalize on its commitment, touting it on the back of the package, and on its website. Ciulla spoke about one more example: Nonni’s Foods, a Tulsa, Oklahoma-based firm that was expanding into the crowded specialty natural foods market. To differentiate from the company’s core club store offerings—sold under the La Dolce Vita brand—Nonni’s decided it would be advantageous to share its story and adherence to using whole food ingredients on its packaging. “La Dolce Vita was inspired by the founder’s Italian heritage, and the biscotti are made with non-GMO ingredients and nothing artificial,” Ciulla said. “These are product qualities that today’s N.O.S.H. (natural, organic, sustainable, healthy) consumers are actively looking for. The original club version of La Dolce Vita looked dated and overly ornate for the N.O.S.H. consumer. Nonni’s wanted to communicate a more contemporary classic product, made using an authentic recipe with only high-quality, clean label ingredients,” he added. Ciulla thinks the firm’s approach to packaging and brand identity are working, allowing the biscotti and ingredients to stand out in the marketplace. “The simple iconic doily serves multiple functions,” he said adding, “It holds the flavor communication, it features the product, and it helps create strong brand blocking at the shelf. The pinstripe backdrop communicates traditional baking, as well as a modern, bright brand expression that feels authentically premium.”
The sustainable packaging movement is taking off in the beer packaging industry.Diageo, the company that packages the beer that’s become a St. Patrick’s Day favorite, Guinness, announced in April that it will eliminate plastic from its beer packaging. Diageo has poured $21 million into this new plastic-free packaging program. It also owns the Harp and Smithwicks breweries; it will also eliminate plastic packaging from those brands. Currently, plastic accounts for about five percent of Guinness’ packaging. By swapping out plastic ring carriers and shrink wrap with 100 percent biodegradable or recyclable cardboard, Guinness will eliminate the equivalent of 40 million plastic bottles worth of waste each year. Diageo is committed to using sustainable beer packs in Ireland by this August, and expand to international markets by next summer, but some U.S. consumers can already reap the rewards of the company’s shift to being eco-friendly. That’s because, in May, Guinness announced that it’s Open Gate Brewery would sell canned multipacks in eco-friendly carriers that are sustainably sourced, made from by-product waste and other compostable materials, and are fully compostable and biodegradable.
Guinness is in good company in its efforts to eliminate plastic ring carriers: the brewer of Corona beer has introduced a new can that doesn’t require plastic ring carriers. The company has partnered with Parley for the Oceans to help eliminate plastic waste from our oceans. The brewer has signed onto the A.I.R. strategy to avoid, intercept, and redesign to eliminate plastic pollution. Corona’s intercept campaigns include a commitment to clean two million square meters of beach, in 23 countries, this summer. In addition, the company is running a promotion in several countries—including the United States—will allow consumers to trade three empty PET (#1) plastic bottles for one bottle of Corona.
To learn how Pioneer Packaging can deliver innovative, industry-leading solutions to you, contact us today. Learn more about PDA’s approach to packaging, and discover how Pioneer Packaging is committed to making Imagine it . . . Done more than just our motto—it’s our promise to you.
E-commerce is taking over as the primary way consumers shop. People are shopping online and having products delivered to their door because it is convenient. However, with companies offering free shipping and sometimes free 2-day shipping, customers are buying various products on demand, which causes more packaging materials to be used. Businesses are asking customers to set up group purchases or weekly scheduled deliveries to consolidate packaging materials. This way, packages can be at full capacity and fewer materials need to be used.
Usually, boxes are made with 50% recycled content and paper has a recovery rate of about 68% which is a positive rate. However, if people bundle their orders more often, fewer boxes and packaging materials can be used and help the environment. Here at Pioneer, we are proud of our sustainability initiatives to reduce waste and lower energy consumption. Bundling orders deliveries is just one small thing you can do to make a big difference in our ecosystem.
Contact us today to learn more about what your company can do to be more sustainable.
For more than 35 years, Pioneer Packaging Worldwide has been a leader in engineering innovative packaging solutions for clients in the industrial, retail, and moving and storage industries. We’re a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise that partners with clients to create cutting-edge packaging that reflects the quality of their business. Through each step of the packaging process—from packaging design to manufacturing to fulfillment and storage—we utilize state-of-the-art facilities to service our clients.
We proudly partner with Packaging Distributors of America (PDA) to develop custom packaging solutions that marry engineering and technology with environmentally-responsible practices to deliver consistency in customer relations, services, products, and handling. With their community-first approach, PDA utilizes 62 distribution centers and more than 25 million square feet of distribution center floor space to deliver custom packaging solutions. We do that by:
Diligently exploring all possibilities to find the best solution
Understanding all of the ins-and-outs of each of our customers
Valuing customers as partners
Providing on-time and just-in-time service and product delivery
Adhering to our supplier code of conduct to ensure that the products we provide are safe and sustainable
Click here to learn more about PDA’s approach to packaging, and here to discover how Pioneer Packaging is committed to making Imagine it . . . Done more than just our motto.
Pioneer Packaging Worldwide’s outlook is Imagine it . . . Done. That’s not just our motto—it’s also our mindset for every project we take on. It is this mindset that makes Pioneer Packaging Worldwide a leader in the design and manufacturing of custom packaging solutions. We’ve been engineering innovative packaging answers for clients in the medical, industrial, retail, and moving and storage industries for more than 35 years. We work with all of our clients to create cutting-edge packaging that reflects the quality of their business. We offer state-of-the-art facilities to partner with clients in every step of the packaging process, from packaging design to manufacturing to fulfillment and storage. Our in-depth packaging industry expertise combined with a partnership approach allows us to customize the perfect packaging solution for any client, large or small. One of our specialty packaging areas is producing high-quality medical packaging—an arena that offers special challenges that other fields don’t. We understand the importance of maintaining product sterility and integrity in medical packaging and are able to leverage our considerable expertise to provide a wide array of packaging solutions to the medical industry. Our medical packaging team specializes in using innovative solutions to create packaging that will meet the rigorous quality requirements of the industry and still be cost-effective, always using the highest quality materials to ensure protection and reliability. We always strive to stay current on the latest trends in medical packaging, so we can meet our promise of providing clients with affordable, cutting-edge solutions in the medical field. Here are some of the issues the medical packaging industry is facing.
Using packaging to deal with America’s opioid crisis. As we try to get a handle on what has become an epidemic, we’ve come together as a nation to deal with it. It turns out that packaging may be a secret weapon for dealing with opioids. In May of this year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requested feedback from the public on a proposal that mandates certain opioids be packaged in fixed-quantity, unit-dose blisters. This is just the latest salvo in what is known as the SUPPORT law. The Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act was enacted about a year ago, on a near-unanimous vote in the United States House of Representatives (on a vote of 393 to 3) and the United States Senate (by a 98 to 1 vote) and is aimed squarely at the opioid crisis, utilizing a multi-pronged approach. According to Walter Berghahn, executive director for the Healthcare Compliance Packaging Council, a not-for-profit trade association that advocates for greater use of unit dose and compliance packaging formats in the United States, opioid manufacturers aren’t necessarily supportive of new packaging options that are designed to help prevent an opioid overdose. “In the last meeting I attended with FDA present, opioid manufacturers were pushing back on FDA and the requirement for blisters for initial (acute care) scrips. They were claiming that the tooling up to produce this form would be burdensome. They were concerned about blister capacity. They also felt that the number of forms that could be required—three day, five day, seven day—could create problems,” he said.
Berghahn continued, “The system as designed allows for the repackaging of pharmaceuticals in the pharmacy, an antiquated practice that has existed since the time when most pharmacies were compounding medications and hence packaging as well. No other country in the world repackages pharmaceuticals to the level that we do in the U.S. Other countries almost exclusively use the manufacturer’s package whether bottle or blister,” he said, adding, “The other packaging challenge would be that the blisters, in this case, would be F-1 CR according to CPSC [Consumer Product Safety Commission] guidance. The F-1 CR package is certainly a bit more complicated to produce but is readily available in numerous forms.”
Berghahn went on to explain how he believes unit-dose packaging helps curb the scourge of opioid abuse. “The concept behind the SUPPORT legislation is to reduce the excess supply of product in the market due to poor prescribing practices. Today, most scrips, due to insurance formulary, are written for 30 days. The healthcare community has come to the realization that this practice—which is fine for chronic treatment prescriptions—does not work so well for short-term acute-care events,” he said, adding, “Tooth extraction, a sprained ankle and such might require three to four days of opioids, but certainly not 30. The left-over doses are ripe for abuse, whether by the prescribed patient or by others in the household. They are all too frequently sold on the black market, as well.”
He believes there are other advantages to this kind of medical packaging. “The other benefit that packaging could provide, especially F-1 compliance packs, is to give visual reminders to patient and caregivers of doses taken. This can help in two ways: First, to help the patient avoid accidental overdosing, through better logging of doses taken and timing,” Berghahn said, continuing, “Second, it can provide visual evidence of pilfered doses. When doses go missing from a blister card, it is much easier to track than in a bottle where one would literally need to dump out the contents and count to verify that some are gone.” He wrapped things up on a hopeful note by saying, “If we take it a step further, smart packaging with integrated electronic chips/RFID could track doses taken and provide a warning to a caregiver in case of attempted overdose or pilferage.”
Can taking the brakes off of innovation help the medical packaging industry? Production executives in the pharmaceutical packaging industry have spoken of what they term “innovation inertia”—a tendency to slow down innovation, due to red tape and the imposition of legal hurdles, such as long approval times and short patent lives. In a recent report, Girish Malhotra dealt with this topic head-on. He is the president of Epcot International, an Ohio-based consultancy firm that specializes in manufacturing and technology simplification for pharmaceutical and other industries. “The problem we have presently is that, for manufacturing technology innovations to be successful, pharma companies (brand and generics) need to have an economic and commercial incentive. It is this incentive that drives forward innovation and advancement. But the regulators—in particular the FDA [Food and Drug Administration]—are still dictating approaches to the industry without asking what the commercial justifications are to support them,” he stated.
Malhotra also wonders if recommendations are developed by regulators without any first-hand experience in the development, design, commercialization, and operation of pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities. He cautions that if this type of dictating doesn’t come to an end, advances in the manufacturing process might never occur. He adds that current guidelines for Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) force pharmaceutical companies to spend their time focusing on adhering to regulations, rather than being innovative. He believes that going down two paths—shortening the times for regulatory approval times and working closely with contract services worldwide—will spark a new, golden era of innovation and drug affordability for those pharmaceutical companies that produce patented products. He also thinks if the industry focuses on doing these two things, two good things will happen: drug shortages will decrease and companies will make more profits, without having to compromise product quality and safety.
“Overall my prediction is that whilst the regulators are trying to improve the situation, we will again lose any major manufacturing improvements over the next one or two years. In the longer term, however, I am hopeful the regulators will pass the buck to pharma and manufacturing companies and let market forces drive process innovation. But my fear is that we are still at least three years away from this,” Malhotra concludes.
At Pioneer Packaging Worldwide, we know how crucial it is for medical merchandise to be sterile and made with the highest integrity. For the reputation of your business, medical packaging has to adhere to the utmost of standards, meeting and exceeding industry expectations. With our significant experience and team of experts, we have innovated solutions to meet the rigorous requirements of the industry. You can rely on Pioneer to offer the highest quality cost-effective medical packaging options. We produce all different types of sterile barrier pouch systems, as well as custom medical trays, lid products, and other pharmaceutical products. Pioneer offers cutting-edge solutions designed to increase productivity in the medical manufacturing environment.
We strive to deliver efficient, cost-effective medical packaging answers, offering automation solutions designed specifically for increasing productivity in the medical manufacturing environment. Using advanced technology and efficient packaging procedures, we provide clients with medical device and medical product packaging services designed to keep costs down and meet the stringent medical packaging industry standards.
Here are the medical packaging items Pioneer offers:
Custom Sterile Barrier Pouch Systems
Medical Poly Bags
Chevron Design Pouches
Linear Tear Packaging
Tubing and high barrier foil lidding
Heat sealable and sterilizable pouches
Custom Medical Tray and Lid Products
Custom thermoformed medical trays
Custom die cut lid stock with printing
To learn more about Pioneer’s time-tested, real-world approach to meet your medical packaging needs, contact us today.
Recently, it was announced that a remote archipelago in the Indian Ocean which is home to less than 600 people contains more than 400 million pieces of plastic waste weighing 238 tons. The vast amount of plastic that is part of the global packaging industry is a pivotal part of the world’s plastic waste crisis. All this plastic waste contributes to irreversible damage to our environment. Of the estimated 400 million tons of plastic the world produces each year, 40% (160 million tons) is earmarked for single-use packaging and thrown away.
For years, we’ve been indoctrinated to believe recycling is the answer; saving the world is as simple as filling a blue or green container and wheeling it to the curb once or twice a week. Sadly, it turns out that 91% of all plastics end up in landfills, incinerators or our oceans, and in about 30 years, the number of plastics in the ocean will outnumber fish by weight. The packaging industry is a large part of this problem. The amount of protective packaging is staggering. The overwhelming amount of such packaging can’t be easily recycled.
A biodegradable, fiber-based alternative may be the answer: paper.
Paper is being increasingly seen as an environmentally-friendly, viable alternative to foam and plastic packaging. Consumers seem to understand the importance of this shift: a recent survey found that 9 out of 10 consumers would choose paper-based packaging, if given a choice. At Pioneer Packaging Worldwide, we’re committed to offering innovative, sustainable solutions that embrace corporate social responsibility while respecting the environment and the future. To learn more about our commitment using environmentally-friendly packaging, contact us today.
The recent announcement that a remote archipelago in the Indian Ocean, which is home to less than 600 people and to more than 400 million pieces of plastic waste weighing 238 tons, made global headlines and again highlighted the dire issue of plastic waste in the world’s oceans.
The massive amount of plastic that is part of the global packaging industry is a pivotal part of the world’s plastic waste crisis. All this plastic waste contributes to irreversible damage to our environment. Of the estimated 400 million tons of plastic the world produces each year, 40% (160 million tons) is earmarked for single-use packaging and thrown away. For years, we’ve been indoctrinated to believe recycling is the answer; saving the world is as simple as filling a blue or green container and wheeling it to the curb once or twice a week. Sadly, it turns out that 91% of all plastics end up in landfills, incinerators or our oceans, and the World Economic Forum calculates that in about 30 years, the amount of plastics in the ocean will outnumber fish by weight.
The packaging industry is a large part of this problem. The sheer amount of protective packaging – material that protects, wraps or cushions products during the shipping process – is staggering. The overwhelming amount of such packaging, whether it’s bubble wrap, foam padding, air pillows, or Styrofoam, is made of complex chemical compounds can’t be easily recycled. For example, when bubble wrap and air pillows end up at recycling centers, they clog the machinery, costing those centers money.
A number of companies, including Colgate Palmolive, Nestlé, SC Johnson, The Coca-Cola Company, and Unilever, are publicly disclosing their annual plastic packaging volumes. They are committing huge resources to removing harmful materials from the manufacturer-to-consumer exchange, turning to biodegradable, fiber-based alternatives for their protective packaging needs. To do that, they are turning to a solution that’s more than 5,000 years old: paper.
Paper is being increasingly seen as an environmentally-friendly, economical, and viable, alternative to foam and plastic packaging. Innovations in paper packaging have shown it to be just as effective as plastic and foam in protecting products and it’s truly friendlier to the environment. Approximately 70% of paper is recycled annually in Europe and North America, compared to only 5% of plastic packaging materials. It also helps that many of the current paper-based packaging alternatives use recycled and virgin wood paper pulp from sustainably sourced trees and government-certified mills. Consumers seem to understand the importance of this shift in the materials used in packaging: a recent survey found that 9 out of 10 consumers would choose paper-based packaging, if given a choice.
At Pioneer Packaging Worldwide, we are committed to offering innovative, sustainable solutions that embrace corporate social responsibility while respecting the environment and the future. To learn more about our commitment using environmentally-friendly packaging, contact us today.
Single-use, ready meals are becoming increasingly popular in today’s day in age. This is because people are busier than ever working, parenting, and dealing with life; home cooked meals have taken a back seat in some households. Companies have been adjusting to people’s lifestyle by having more ready to eat meals available that sustain the quality of a freshly cooked dish. Packaging has become one of the most important factors when making these single-use meals to keep food fresh and easy to make. Businesses have been looking for an alternative to plastic containers to be more sustainable.
A company by the name of Waitrose created the first 100% compostable single-used ready meal. The packaging is made with a fiber-based material, which can create a 50% saving in Co2 emissions.
Packaging for a single-use meal can be a challenge because it has be microwave and oven safe, while still being cool to touch after being heated. Traditionally, hard plastic containers were the only viable option, however, it was hard to recycle at the end of its use. The company said this innovative packaging solution of compostable containers is projected to save 158 tons of black plastic.
Pioneer Packaging wants to keep you up-to-date on the latest packaging industry news. We have custom food packaging and containers options to promote your brand in a creative way and together with our sustainable initiatives can help your business reduce waste and lower energy consumption. Contact us if you are interested in enhancing your food packaging to reduce your carbon footprint.
Most consumer packaged goods are manufactured using packaging machines. The global packaging machinery market was valued at more than $39 billion in 2016 It is expected to top $62 billion by 2023. At Pioneer Packaging, we utilize the latest in machinery and automation. We are keeping a close eye on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) on packaging equipment and processing lines. There is a new line of robotic end-of-arm tooling (EOAT) equipment. This equipment can be used to handle fragile products and materials or produce fine design details. There are advancements being made in the premade-pouch fillers/sealers sectors of packaging. This is being driven by the desire to develop packaging with less waste and greater operational efficiency.
Pioneer Packaging combines technology with dependable packaging machinery to deliver the highest level of dependability to our clients.
Contact us today for answers to all your packaging questions.
Most consumer packaged goods are manufactured using packaging machines. Whether they are large or small, these machines are big business. The global packaging machinery market was valued at more than $39 billion in 2016 and is expected to top $62 billion by 2023. This machinery makes most consumer packaged goods possible, because if a product cannot be efficiently manufactured, sales will be limited and, thus, its life will be cut short. Automatic packaging lines—and the machines which are linked together to create those lines—are used to produce products at a rate that makes them viable in the marketplace. For the most part, packaging lines are comprised of three sections: first, the front of the line (getting the product and packaging materials to the line); second, the middle of the line (getting the product into the package); and third, the end of the line (getting the packaged product ready to be shipped). The machines used in each part of the process vary, depending on what they are used for, whether they are depalletizers (using automation to efficiently unload products on pallets), orienters (automation used to orient parts to be placed in the best position on the line), fillers (automation that fills containers with products), labelers (automation used to accurately place labels on products), case packers (automation used to pack cases on a line) or unitizers (separating products on a line into units). Automation aids, including human/machine interfaces (HMIs), and motion-control devices, help to monitor and improve the efficiency of the machines on assembly lines.
At Pioneer Packaging Worldwide, we utilize the latest in machinery and automation available to the packaging industry. We like to stay abreast of the latest trends to deliver cutting-edge packaging solutions to our clients. One of the sectors of packaging technology we’re keeping a close eye on is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) on packaging equipment and processing lines. This burgeoning field holds great promise for higher efficiencies, better quality, and improved safety. AI is adept at meeting a number of engineering-related goals, such as better predictive maintenance, zero downtime, clear traceability related to standards compliance, and higher levels of worker engagement. “Smart” devices (such as motors, sensors, controllers and more, that impart improved algorithms to conveyors, robots, and checkweighers) can engage workers, not replace them. The end result should be to automate tasks—not replace workers.
“We still remain far from general AI that can wholly take over complex tasks, but we have now entered the realm of AI-augmented work and decision science—what we call ‘augmented intelligence,’” according to Chris Howard, distinguished research vice president at the research firm Gartner. “If you are a CIO and your organization doesn’t use AI, chances are high that your competitors do and this should be a concern,” he adds.
AI is poised to have a huge impact on the packaging industry. “AI is a set of data-processing techniques that go beyond traditional algorithms connecting cause and effect, observation and action, to a higher level of processing emphasizing pattern recognition, adaptive control and prediction,” according to the Chuck Lewin, president of Massachusetts-based Performance Motion Devices. “In the context of packaging equipment, AI operates in three steps,” he said, adding, “it inputs data from sensors, analyzes that data and then alters its own operation based on the results of that analysis. The key is collecting a lot of data, even of variables that may not be directly related to the process being controlled.” Lewin continues, “As applied to packaging equipment, AI will improve system performance in several key areas. Lines will handle a wider range of incoming materials, they will provide more precise inspection of the materials they handle and they will monitor their own behavior so that required maintenance can be predicted,” he concluded.
There are several factors that are converging to make AI so important today, and for the future. These include:
Bigger data. A large number of devices have delivered us extensive data to process, both structured (in databases and spreadsheets) and unstructured (in text, images, audio, and video.) As literally trillions of sensors are activated in both manufacturing and manufactured products, “big data” is only bound to get bigger. Using AI to assist in processing this information enables us to discover historical patterns, predict more efficiently, and make real-time adjustments.
Processing power. It’s easier, and cheaper, than ever to handle large volumes of data with complex AI-empowered systems through parallel processing, using accelerating technologies like cloud computing and graphics processing units. In the future, “deep learning” chips will push parallel computation further.
A connected globe. Global manufacturing supply chains, combined with social media platforms, have changed how we interact, and what information we can expect and when we can expect it. The Internet of Things (IoT) is accelerating the spread of information and encouraging the sharing of knowledge. “Collective intelligence” will include open-source communities that developing AI tools and share applications.
Improved algorithms. Dramatic advances have been made in a number of aspects on AI, especially in “deep learning”, where layers of neural networks are designed to imitate the human brain’s approach to processing information and also in “deep reinforcement”, in which the AI agent learns with little or no initial input data by trial and error optimized by a reward function.
Open-source software and data. Open-source software is speeding up the use of AI, as demonstrated in the increasing popularity of open-source machine-learning standards. This can lead to spending less time on routine coding and wider application of emerging AI tools.
There is a new line of robotic end-of-arm tooling (EOAT) equipment. This is designed to allow customers to build automated tooling systems to fit their specific applications. This equipment includes products in a variety of sizes and dimensions and can be used to handle fragile products and materials, or produce fine design details. Producers can choose from a full assortment of EOAT components, designed from the ground up to put together an automated handling/gripping system designed for a specific palletizing or packaging or job.
There are advancements being made in the premade-pouch fillers/sealers sector of packaging. This is being driven by the desire to develop packaging with less waste and greater operational efficiency, including improved infeed systems. “The laminated stand-up pouch segment has exploded over the past five to 10 years. Never before have we seen so many innovations in terms of material structures and bag features, including barrier films, high-respiration films, specialty closures, fitments/spouts, shapes, and sizes,” according to Mike Burnett, senior product manager at Automated Packaging Systems. “This innovation in flexible packaging materials has also driven the need for innovation in the form, fit and function of the machinery used to package customer products in the most efficient and effective ways possible,” he continued.
“Packaging machinery buyers/users are constantly being challenged by ever-increasing labor costs and ever-decreasing labor availability. We’ve seen a significant increase in the demand for more custom, integrated systems in which our bagging machinery is fully integrated with various types of automatic infeeds—counters, weighers, fillers, and robotics. Having the capability to use automatic infeeds significantly reduces the number of people required to operate each piece of equipment on the packing line,” Burnett added.
A Japanese firm is making major inroads this sector. “We distribute the Toyo Jidoki brand. A recent advancement is a new recycle-pouch option. When a bag is not filled, instead of just dropping, the bag continues through each rotary station without being sealed or dispensed. The bag continues through the next cycle and is then filled, sealed and dispensed the second time around,” said Troy Snader, vice president at Matrix/ProMach, adding, “another advancement is in the adjustability of the heights of the pouches and seal bar/cooling bar. This allows for much greater flexibility with zipper pouches. Yet another advanced feature is the ‘pause’ mode. In this mode, if a pouch is opened, the process will pause or wait for the fill, as needed. That way you remove the possibility of an empty pouch.”
Getting things done faster is a major consideration, according to R. Charles Murray, CEO of PPi Technologies Group. “The marketplace has called for more speed, and our new servo-driven PSG LEE fill-and-seal machines run at 120 per minute,” he said, adding, “supplying prepared home food products as kits have created the need for two-compartment pouches. Amazon is pushing online delivery of healthy food kits—home deliveries have doubled in the past year. We can fill, in duplex, two pouches at a time, each with two compartments, and also up to four different products at a time. The scale feeds these products. We can also gas flush to extend shelf life.”
Pioneer Packaging Worldwide combines technology with dependable packaging machinery to deliver the highest level of dependability and technology to our clients. We are proud to be the industry leader in providing mechanical-packaging system solutions for our clients, utilizing equipment ranging from entry-level machinery to full automation. Plus, we provide qualified technicians to install, adjust and perform routine maintenance on our products. Contact us today for answers to all your packaging questions.
Stand-up (inverted) pouches are have been around for a few years. In 2002, Heinz upended the packaging industry when it introduced the upside-down squeezable ketchup bottle, about 20 years after replacing glass and rigid plastic jars and bottles with plastic for condiment packaging. Now with more and more consumer products being sold in stand-up pouches, the next step in their evolution is here. The Sempack® is an inverted, conical pouch made with 100%-recycled materials that can be used for food and nonfood products.
Semco, a Monaco-based company, began developing Sempack® in 2012. It was patented in France two years later and in 2015, patents were registered in 46 other countries in Europe. Semco wanted to create a 100% eco-responsible alternative to existing packaging, using easily-foldable and flexible films to cut down on waste and offer an easily-disposable alternative to other forms of packaging.
Here are some unique advantages Sempack® offers consumers:
It combines the benefits of a tube, a pouch, and a bottle
It is made from 100%-recyclable, multilayer film
Its flexible, conical pouch is able to stand up or down
It can be used for food and nonfood applications
Functionally, it operates like other squeezable pouches, but offers more variety in accessory options and the ways in which it can be filled and sealed
It’s based on the pastry bag concept and can hold numerous types of products, from liquid creams to pasty or semi-pasty substances to powders
It’s suited for use across numerous industries, including food and beverage, cosmetic, pharmaceutical and industrial
It can be filled using conventional filling and lidding equipment; Semco is currently developing the second generation of the Sempack® manufacturing process, using a form-fill-seal line
Sempack® is available in several sizes, including 200ml, 300ml, and 600mL, and numerous accessory choices are available, including standard caps, flip-top caps, disc tops, and caps with valves. They can be decorated by conventional direct printing methods, such as flexographic or digital, and can be surface- or reverse-printed.
To learn more about Sempack® and other innovative packaging solutions for your company, contact Pioneer Packaging today!